Red Rocks / Dakota Ridge

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6
miles

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Singletrack
↑ 1,300 ft
↓ 1,500 ft
4.8
avg mph
427
ridden
170
wishlist
1:26
avg time

Loop
AVERAGE RATING
4.25 out of 5
About This Trail
added by Guest on December 31, 2002
actions now above photo
 
From the parking lot, cross CO 26, and ascend the jeep road that you will see on the east. Follow for 3 miles. This section of trail is called Dakota Ridge. A couple of tough climbs, but mostly just riding the ridge. Lot\'s of slick rock. (pretty technical) You can see Denver to the left, and Red Rocks Park to the right. After descending down from the ridge, you will cross a small road over to the Red Rocks Trail which is also 3 miles. Red Rocks trail is totally different from the Dakota ridge....much greener and smoother. It\'s mostly a single track dirt trail. A couple of climbs, but not bad at all. This is not nearly as technical, and the scenery is amazing. You will be riding through towering red rocks and beautiful shrubbery. This trail loops back up to the parking area. So you have a 6 mile loop with slick rock, desert, sand, red rock, single track, beautiful scenery, and skill levels for everyone. (less skilled or in shape riders might want to do just the red rock side, which is still great fun!!)
Rider Questions
 
Recommended Trails
Mount Falcon Park
White Ranch
Apex Park
Buffalo Creek
Slickrock
Deer Creek Canyon
Lair O' The Bear / Bear Creek Trail
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1 week ago
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on Jun 21, 2014
 
Mountaineer19 on June 14, 2014
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Review: I did a loop of Red Rocks and Dakota Ridge. It was an okay ride. Dakota Ridge which is the Hogback adjacent to Red Rocks has some great views but its very rocky and had alot of logs also. You are constantly braking, not my cup of tea. But If you love ripping over rocks this is a nice loop.

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norourke on May 27, 2014
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Review: Don't ride the ridge after a rain storm, the red clay on the climb on the other side of 26 is brutal. The clay stuck in my tire and stopped the wheel from turning. Highly recommend riding it backwards from the red rock trail across 26. The water dams and terrain is much easier in that direction. Don't get me wrong you will need your A game on this ride no matter the direction.

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Ash Bobye on May 16, 2014
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Review: Had a ton of fun on this trail. There were some muddy and sandy parts from the rain but it just added to the fun. We didn't get to hit Dakota Ridge because there was a detour and we couldn't figure out their directions...

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jreiss13 on April 5, 2014
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Review: Great trail very technical. The lower half of Dakota Ridge is closed south of Alameda Pkwy. There is a lot of thick mud that cakes your tires making it hard to ride now but will be great once it dries.

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James S on March 7, 2014
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Review: Rode Dakota Ridge a few weeks ago on my hard tail 29er, first time up there and emphasized my desire to upgrade to full squish. It was super challenging on what was a light, XC geometry bike. Really, head angle much too steep to comfortably descend many of the drops. However, as much as I walked it I had an intense desire to conquer this trail. It's a technicians dream, and can be downhill/enduro centric. Fast forward 2 weeks, was able to source a year old frame to build up a full suspension bike. This is a trail review, but I have to say, Dakota was so much more enjoyable on a bike that was easier to pedal through the tough sections. Wow, and active braking, didn't know what the felt like. I probably still walked a good portion of the trail, but did 100% better than my first time. If you are looking for a technical challenge, and are confident enough for some fairly steep rocky descents, then Dakota is for you Not a beginner trail, definitely advanced. It earns it's black diamond rating for sure. Rode it both directions last night because of previous snowfall, Red Rocks was not rideable. Going northbound on Dakota is quite a lot of hike-a-bike, but is fun as well. Again, not for the faint of heart. Enjoy!

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delphinide on January 17, 2013
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Review: Winter Update: Zorro is mostly dirt and there is little snow on top of Hogback. Red Rocks and MW have mostly dirt at the bottom sections of the trail and packed powder near parts of the top on the north and western sides. I would not ride this w/o a fatbike at the moment.

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stillfat on September 23, 2012
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Review: Not sure why it took me so long to ride this one - I've been missing out. Yes, more than a little hike-a-bike, but fun-technical and slabby. The Red Rocks side is a lot tamer, but still fun. I passed through the Red Rocks Trailhead right before a Furthur show and was overwhelmed by the competing scents of weed, patchouli and human excrement. Secondhand buzz starting kicking in making the initial Red Rocks climb a little more manageable.

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vbeckman74 on September 16, 2012
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Review: The hogback section of this trail is rocky and rough as Hell. If you can clean it, you're badass. It would be a better run. The red rock section is cool, fast, and a bit rocky.

Similar Trail: The most technical sections of Waldo Canyon.

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Shonad on June 6, 2012
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Review: I loved this trail so much we returned to it for our last trail of a 2 week mountain biking trip in Colorado. Sweet drops and technical climbs with lovely flowy sections in between. It'll be the first trail I do with I return to Denver!

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samurai6660 on November 11, 2011
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Review: School-girls be aware: This amazingly awesome trail consists of gnarly rock gardens, rock drops, a nice "rock bridge," (beware of resting rattle-snakes under rocks) and, well....more rocks. Everything is do-able including the stair wall, witch consists of 2 lengthy wooded stair sections. We ride it up to, and ON Thanksgiving every year. Please join us. Should be listed as one of the TOP 10 TRAILS in CO. Have fun!

Similar Trail: Porcupine Rim

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DurangoMtBikeTours on October 8, 2011
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Review: Only had about an hour so just rode out and back on Red Rock Trail. Good Time. 1st half is pretty rolling. At the second intersection of Morrison Slide Trail, the Red Rock trail goes down and then crosses the road, Continues on towards the Red Rocks Ampitheater. I wish I had more time to ride additional trails here. Being so close to Denver, these trails get ALOT of use. Most runners/hikers were cool, one was a jerk.

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davefourtwenty on August 30, 2011
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Review: This is my favorite ride on the front range. For those riders looking for a technical challenge try Dakota Ridge and the SW downhill of the Red Rocks trail. These two sections (especially the SW downhill of Red Rocks) are by far the most technical riding in the area. Other than those two sections this trail is pretty easy but very fun. On the weekends the Red Rocks side of the trail can get very clustered with hikers so checking it out during the week will give you the purest experience.

Similar Trail: Porcupine Rim, Hartman Rocks

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mattics on July 23, 2011
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Review: I am not a fan of the Dakota Ridge leg of this trail, the riding is extremely technical and a lot of it for me was simply not rideable. I love a challenging technical ascent and love earning my downhills, but hike-a-biking most of the ridge was not something that I found to be much fun. Funny how many pedal scrape marks there on the rocks all along the ridge.

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delphinide on June 12, 2011
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Review: This is a GREAT trail that you can link with Green Mountain, Bear Creek, and several other smaller trails for an EPIC ride if you want to. Lots of climbing. Challenging, infrequent, technical descents. Fast flowing downhills. Did I mention the climbing? Seriously, this is a fantastic trail system so close to Lakewood that I have considering moving there just to have these things in my backyard. The are ridable from Nov to March. Make sure you bring lots of water (no where to refuel), gels, and layers. The weather can surprise you if you are out for a 4+ hour ride.

Similar Trail: Green Mountain

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dahwee on June 10, 2011
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Review: Dakota Ridge to Red Rocks to Matthew Winter 7.47 miles. I haven't ridden the ridge in a while and it was a blast. I parked at MW and rode up to the top of Dakota Ridge. The climb is pretty short and not technical. Once atop the ridge the gardening (rock gardens) begins. I highly recommend riding from north to south and not the other way around. Descending from Dakota Ridge you cross over the paved road and into Red Rocks. The climb starts off pretty mellow and increases in aerobic difficulty as you approach the intersection of Red Rocks and Morrison Slide. Continue up Morrison slide for some technical climbing followed by an excellent descent back to the Red Rocks Trail. Village Ride is a fast bit of burmed single track to finish the ride off. Enjoy!

Similar Trail: Apex Mountain, White Ranch, Deer Creek Canyon

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UniballLenny on June 8, 2011
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Review: Great trail. Pretty tough to get throgh the hard stuff. Very rocky on top of Dakota Ridge. Redrocks is great and it has some great opportunities for big air!

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sparky1974 on June 6, 2011
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Review: Rode this trail on Sunday. I just moved here in April and am still trying to get used to the altitude. From Lower North parking lot, hit the trail, crossed a road/parking lot, and ventured upward. Came to the fork and took the Morrison Slide trail to the left. Circled around and didn't head towards Winters. This was a fun yet challenging ride. Especially the ascents!!! This is definitely different riding than on the east coast (DC area)

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haupt on May 24, 2011
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Review: As always, the Hogback (Dakota Ridge) was a dream/nightmare depending on your appetite. Very technical in spots with large rocks, drops, and steeps. It seemed to be riding well with all the recent rain keeping the dust to a minimum. The Red Rocks section is always a nice slow wind down after coming off the Hogback thrilled you didn't end up in the hospital.

Similar Trail: Apex, Walker Ranch

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maddslacker on March 15, 2011
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Review: This is a steep, but mostly hard pack climb (in either direction) with very technical rock features all along the top. This is probably the most technical trail in the Denver area. Being so rocky though, it tends to be ridable most of the winter.

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fickle_hellcat on March 4, 2011
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Review: Great ride with a little of everything. The technical sections are killer; hard to find stuff like that along the front range. I just wish it was twice as long. By their scale, it would be double black diamond based on the size of some rocks/drops, but 1 seems more appropriate overall.

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grandlakejames on December 18, 2010
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Review: Rode the Red Rocks portion of this trail in September and it was great. It was a fun flowing trail and rode great in both directions. It was very busy on Sunday.

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JohnsXCbike on November 7, 2010
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Review: Dokota Ridge was beyond enjoyable for me. An extreme amount of technical rocky sections mixed with sand making it even more difficult, plus drops along the trail, basically if you fall there's a very good chance you'll be going to the hospital. I'd consider myself a very technical rider, I just don't like trails where it feels like a fall will for sure put me in the hospital, I wouldn't be comfortable on this trail without a freeride bike and body armor, which some people where wearing. However the Red Rocks Trail portion was a nice flowing ride, but was Very busy on this past very nice weekend.

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bstat on October 18, 2010
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Review: Dakota Ridge trail is a technician's fantasy. Narrow, sheer drops, steps, logs, rocks, slickrock, narrow trail, did I mention sheer drops if you really eff up? Red Rocks trail is analogous to a "blue/black" mogul run at a ski area - you can practice your tech skills w/o worrying about killing yourself. If you're an intermediate (like me), do an out and back on Red Rocks trail - you'll get your share of rocks along with some downhill and then climbing. Dakota Ridge is for hiking only - or for expert tech bikers. Red Rocks is busy on the weekends, so watch out for hikers.

Similar Trail: Apex Park.

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samurai6660 on September 11, 2010
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Review: BY FAR the best trail in the foothills. I ride it at least twice a week in the summer, fall, and spring time. Combine with Mathew Winters for a grand ol' time.

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headholio on May 26, 2010
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Review: Along the top of Dakota ridge is very technical and I walked a lot of it. I like technical riding, but this was a bit beyond my abilities. I guess I would say I'm intermediate, as I don't like to fall or risk my skin too much. The place gets too crowded on nice weekend days. It is nice that the trail on the other side of the road from the ridge takes you right into the red rocks of Red Rocks park.

* Review edited 5/26/2010

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Greg Heil on November 12, 2009
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Review: Rode this trail about a year and a half ago, but somehow never added a review, so here goes. This trail is INCREDIBLE! TECHNICAL is definitely the name of the game, but if that's your game, this trail totally rocks! The exposure up on top is pretty heady in places. Several really tough climbs, and several speedy descents. Whenever I think of technical riding now, I remember this trail. Can't wait to get back to Denver and ride it again!

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BFD on June 25, 2009
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Review: TECH-NI-CAL. I agree with the previous reviewer, warm up before hand if possible. The climbs are not endless but the technicality involved makes each section...memorable. A blood/skin sacrifice to this trail is expected at every outing.

Similar Trail: Apex Park, Golden. Bergen Peak, Evergreen.

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kuala_tahan on May 11, 2009
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Review: Parked in the Red Rocks lot, pretty diesel climb up from there without warming up. Past the M... parking lot (forget the name, starts with an "M" I think) climbing up the fire road-type area, was to muddy and couldn't ride up it. But, on top the ridge is awesome, nice and technical, fun ride. Tough when wet, but still do-able. Fun ride

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SLOWGATOR00 on April 15, 2009
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Review: Good warmup is recommended before the Dakota climb, technical rock climbing/descending throughout entire ridge. Cross the road and enter Red Rocks (get ready to climb). Fun workable climbing with fun rolling track back to the lot.

Similar Trail: Mack Ridge

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John Fisch on December 10, 2008
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Review: How cool to have something so tech be so accessible. Beware the climb after a rain as the clay will cake your tires within a few yards. Once it dries, however, you get great "bang-for-the-buck" in technical goodies on Dakota Ridge. This place rocks--literally! The only drawback is the crowds, including trail runners.

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pukalani13 on November 16, 2008
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Review: OMG the trail is beautiful!! The terrain is trecherous if you are as new to MTB as I am ..I did well but was cautious..guys took some pictures as I crawled slowly down on some of the more technical parts..I will wear shin and elbow protection next time ..the greatest challege wasnt the ride up but the rocky downhill with lots of hikers and runners!I cant wait to go back ..scariest ride that I have done but well worth it now that I know what to expect!Guys who ride it all the time at the bottom were impressed worth it just for the attention from the hot guys!

Similar Trail: grand tetons ..JK

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ridingdave on August 12, 2008
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Review: Pretty climbs and downhills. Great view of the area and will lead to the amphitheater. Definitely worth it!

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taiguy on July 7, 2008
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Review: Dakota Ridge and Red Rocks are two very different trails. It's just convenient that they both originate from the matthew winters parking lot and together form a loop. I ran it clockwise, starting with Dakota Ridge. Dakota ridge starts with a decent climb up a jeep service road before you hit the ridgeline. The entire trail is basically one giant rock garden with various "big guys" thrown in for good measure. As noted by other reviewers - the stairs look pretty much impossible for normal humans. I ended up hike-a-biking a substantial portion of dakota ridge. Too much for an intermediate rider such as myself, especially the some of the climbing portions. Overall it was still a lot of fun to challenge myself and see what I could do without dying. Red rocks is much more mellow, even more so considering just coming down from dakota. It's very XC with mostly packed dirt. Coming clockwise you go through a pretty decent climb before leveling off. Much more fun since I didn't have to get off my bike every 50 yards (heh).

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steve32300 on November 1, 2007
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Review: wow.this trail is a trip.its not your usual technical rocky trail.there is alot of skill you use here that you wouldnt usually use in such a way.if you notice,there are alot of pedal and crank scratch marks on alot of the rock.pedaling can be reduced to half pedaling on account of all the rock in the way of your pedals.you'll learn how to half pedal if you dont know how already.its challenging and cool to learn.nice views from the ridge and you can make it a long ride if you start from green mountain to dakota ridge to mathews/winters.and just like arnoldo14 said,endoing is a very distinct possibility.i endo'd here and i had to just let go of the bike and it came crashing down derailer side down.broke the frame.

* Review edited 11/6/2007

Similar Trail: apex

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arnolda14 on June 6, 2007
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Review: My review of the west side is under Mathew Winters (sic). Dakota is fun and challenging. One time I endo'd here and came inches away from a rock-first face-plant. This is a good place to test and improve your skills.

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BobinConifer on May 13, 2007
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Review: This is a great loop ride with some very fun technical climbs --even if man made. I've seen more injuries on this trail than any other! Mostly over the bar broken collar bones but one pretty messed up downhiller who thought a full faced helmet would save him from not knowing what he was doing. It's short so you pretty much have to loop it with Mathews/Winters. This is a good intro to technical challenges and a local tuner for Denverites planning a Moab trip...

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Jeepmb on December 19, 2006
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Review: Mathews/winters is my favorite of the group. Sandy in some parts, but love the trails. Great for any level of riding

Similar Trail: Green Mountain, Denver

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yellowdman on December 7, 2006
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Review: This is a fun trail to ride! I always loop it in with Mathew Winters Park since it's right there. The Dakota Ridge side does have some pretty good technical sections so I wouldn't recommend it to the very beginner rider but the Red Rocks side is pretty tame. I always start from the parking lot on the north part of Dakota Ridge and work my way upward and clockwise down to Red Rocks and Mathew Winters back then back to the parking lot.

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Lancefan on December 2, 2006
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Review: Both challanging and fun. If you want even mor climbing you can start at Green Mtn. and come up the Zorro trail.

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brian_edwards on November 26, 2006
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Review: I rode this trail after riding Green Mountain Thanksgiving Day. I actually only got to ride the Dakota Ridge Portion of it as the shadows were getting pretty long. I enjoyed this one alot better, quit a bit more technical and alot less people. I will come back here and ride the whole thing next time in Denver.

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MarkZahn on November 9, 2006
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Review: I forgot to rate it. I think Mnt Falcon is funner yet it hasn't been rated as popular.

Similar Trail: Apex

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yellowdman on November 8, 2006
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Review: This is a real fun loop to do. I always start on the North Dakota Ridge side and work my way clockwise to Red Rocks then I loop it into Mathew Winters to make the ride longer and more fun. I would say the Dakota Ridge trail isn't for beginners because it does have some pretty technical sections and a couple of sphincter puckering sections too. The Red Rocks side is pretty smooth and if you did the loop clockwise your going to be going uphill when on the Red Rocks side and if you loop Mathew Winters into it expect some really tight switchbacks and a couple of technical sections. Also if your scared of snakes then this place might not be for you during Spring and Summer and sometimes into fall. I've seen more snakes here than any other front range trail. PLEASE BE NICE TO THE SNAKES! This is a great trail to ride to help yourself improve on your technical skills.

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MarkZahn on October 16, 2006
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Review: This trail is a blast but if you're not advanced plan on doing hike-a-biking. I've never seen such a wide variety of obstacles, different challenges and all sequenced together. It definitely should be classified as a bike basher and a biker basher, if you're not skilled.

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jeeper on October 14, 2006
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Review: A tale of two trails. You can do this as loop or each one separately. The Red Rocks side is fairly easy but quite rocky. Only two short sections of what I would call technical. A good fitness challenge going back to the parking lot if you are out of shape like me. I found it fun to explore the paved roads up to and around the ampitheatre. For a fun and fast downhill, ride up to the ampitheater. After catching your breath ride back down to the trail for a exciting paved downhill. Just watch out for cars through the tunnel. The Dakota Ridge side is Technical and physically challenging but well worth the grind. Great views and some variation. Well worth it if you are up for the challenge. I highly recommend the loop, Dakota Ridge north to south then cross the higway and take the red rocks side back to your car.

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tele_ski1 on May 4, 2006
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Review: The Dakota Ridge section is one of the funnest rides in the front range. It has great technical climbs and descents, tight switchbacks and a few drops. The Red Rocks side of the trail is a mixed bag of easy single track and short rocky technical sections probably even more difficult than dakota ridge.

Similar Trail: apex

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Guest on March 10, 2006
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Review: This trail is a blast,great technically and a good little climb if you go from north to south..One thing I dont get,people tell me this trail is advanced,I can ride this whole trail except for the stair steps and I just started riding about 6 months ago and I am only fourteen years old.

Similar Trail: horsethief bench,marys loop,moore fun,fruita area

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dirtcoach on December 4, 2005
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Review: I have been riding this trail for 15 years and is part of a training loop I do almost weekly year round. Yes this an advanced trail so be warned. I have seen many people bleeding on it, knocked out and bruised. Not real gonzo though since there never really is any steep sections that last. This Trail is very short with lots of hikers at times . Full Suspension is recommended though is cleanable on a Hard tail. After the saddle section and steps the rest of the trail needs to be ridden in the Middle or Big Ring going, this will make going over the rough stuff EZ and more fun. Depending on your skill and fitness North to South Takes under 20mins to an hour or more

Similar Trail: Sections or Tempelton Trail in Palmer Park, The Technical sections of Apex but more.

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jbersch on October 23, 2005
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Review: This is a nice set of trails close to Denver. Dakota Ridge is a nice Advanced ride with many steep, rocky sections. Red Rocks trail is a nice intermediate with a handful of short, steep climbs. While a bit washed out, both trails are a blast to ride with great scenery. If you ride Dakota, be sure to ride North -> South. Much more "downhill" that way. Link up with Red Rocks at the end of Dakota and youíll have a nice long (mostly uphill) ride back to the parking lot. (We park in the lot right near I-70). It gets a bit crowded due to the proximity to Denver, but like most of the trails around the front range, the majority of people are exceptionally courteous.

Similar Trail: Green Mountain

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Troy on October 9, 2005
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Review: A friend and I rode this trail for the first time yesterday (Saturday morning) and loved it. We're both probably considered advance-novice or low-intermediate level riders, but we love technical challenges. This one was definitely that. We had to walk some of the steep stair climbs and a couple of the more technical, steep downhill sections, but other than that we were able to do most everything on Dakota Ridge. We hooked up with the Red Rock Trail after Dakota Ridge and found it to be technical (though not as much so as Dakota Ridge) and a little faster, which proved to be a lot of fun. The final ride back to the Matthews Winters parking lot was a nice downhill with some woopty-doos. The trail was fairly busy with other bikers, hikers and horse-back riders so watch your speed. A great trail if you like a technical challenge, and awesome views of Red Rocks, Denver, and surrounding area.

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c3667 on July 30, 2005
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Review: this is a great trail to use as a connecting trail from Green mountain to Mathew winters park. and a fun climb from the GM Rooney road lot.

Similar Trail: Mathew Winters

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Animal on June 26, 2005
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Review: Wow, one of the best trails that I have ever been on.

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Guest on March 22, 2005
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Review: If you can up-ride all of the stair-steps you are a BAD man. That is all.

Similar Trail: Amasa Back Moab

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mtberman on January 17, 2005
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Review: The initial ride up the ridge can be challenging but it's not too long and fairly do-able. Once at the top you just ride the ridge which is one of those don't-miss-it trails and I agree that it's one of the best in the Denver-metro area. The ridge along the top is challenging, especially the stair steps up. Making it up a few of those is good for the ego. Once down the other side be sure to ride the Red Rocks area because it's an idyllic spot and even the steepest sections are rideable. The balance of the ride back to the start is a great cool down. Great scenery, challenging sections mostly at the beginning, fun and easy toward the end, and an easy drive to get there.

Similar Trail: Walker Ranch near Boulder

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ameyer on September 28, 2004
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Review: This has to be one of the best trails within 10 miles of Denver. Starting from the parking lot there is an excellent first climb to the top of Dakota Ridge, once there the fun starts with what I think is the roughest and most fun 2 miles of trail around. After that portion the rest of the trail is easy. Make sure you do the Morrison Slide part of the trail (you made it that far, don't wimp out now) on the way back or you miss out on a good rocky switchbacked climb. Great views of the surrounding area are a reward for your efforts. The trail back to the parking lot from the bottom of the Slide is rolling fun and fast. Ahh, the satisfaction of completing the trail (7.2 miles if you do the Morrison Slide part also). Don't miss this one.

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Pain_Is_Relative on August 17, 2004
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Review: A friend and I only road the Dakota Ridge portion of this ride and boy was it difficult. My friend was attempting his second serious mountain ride and the ridge way 50 rides over his head. The first climb from the parking lot was tuff and for the first time in awhile it took the wind out of me. On reaching the summit of the ridge the fun really began. The ridge is the most technical ride I have done to date but I can't wait to go back and try it again. There were many portions that I had to bail on because of superior technicality. Beginners will have to push the bike most of the ridge. There are spots when you can start cruising but not far is a technical portion which will slow you down. This is a great advanced ride for the after work enthusiast and I strongly recommend it to anyone not shy of slick, steep, technical, and intimidating mountain biking. P.S. After the first climb there is only one other aerobic challenge half way on the ridge; that is if you can make it up the technical climb.

Similar Trail: White Ranch, Walker Ranch, Hall in Lyons

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Guest on April 25, 2004
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Review: It was totally Radical, I mean it was like awsome You know what I mean Homey!

Similar Trail: Deer Creek Canyon Trail

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Guest on December 31, 1969
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Review: The first climb up the jeep track is almost a gut-buster, especially since you're typically not warmed up yet. The ridge itself is a nice , sometimes technical ride. A series of vertical stepped logs in the middle of the ride are a good challenge to try and make through - I haven't yet! The red rocks ride on the other side offer a steep climb, but then some of the most rolling and fun singletrack I've experienced in the area. A great ride overall - technical, challenging, and a great singletrack to end it.

Similar Trail: Walker Ranch above Boulder, Hall Ranch in Lyons.

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Red Rocks / Dakota Ridge MTB Trail 4.25 out of 5 based on 57 ratings. 57 user reviews.
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Trail Features
 
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Trail Conditions
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